economics of a madhouse Greed has created a climate in the UK where people get themselves in financial trouble, but a businessman is considered exploitative if he makes money, argues Tony Phillips

first_imgW ithout doubt I am part of the most oppressed minority group in the country: I am white, male, heterosexual and in business. Now, I know that if I refer to being white, I may offend the race lobby. If I mention male, I may offend the feminist lobby, and mentioning heterosexual could risk offending the homosexual lobby.There! I have now probably offended three of the most vociferous groups in the country. Were my grandfather and father alive, they might have thought the Nazis or Communists had won the wars. Even to express the slightest dissenting view can lead to one being branded as a fascist or extremist. I am neither. What has happened to freedom of speech in my country?feminist principlesDuring the 1960s, I was an ardent feminist, as I saw women, usually called secretaries, running many companies while their male bosses were swanning around taking three-hour liquid lunches or out on the golf courses most afternoons making so-called contacts. Meanwhile, the ladies did all the work – often with little respect – and were expected to act as coffee-maker and even shopper for their inadequate bosses.Nowadays, I feel it has often gone too far the other way, particularly at the BBC, where being a glamorous young woman appears to be the only qualification needed. After all, how many young men do we now see on our screens? Watching some of the young women talking about various sports appears ridiculous to me – they just read it off the autocue.That leaves business, where no one stands up for us. Let us think about the latest media obsession: higher interest rates. To me, people take out larger mortgages than they can afford, because they are so greedy that they think of a home as a means of making money, rather than a place to live in.Yet if we in business borrow money and get into trouble, there is never a word of sympathy for us. Society just says: “It’s your own fault, you should know better.”business dilemmaWhy are we, in business, considered useless if we fail, yet accused of being greedy and exploiting people if we make money? Very few ever stop to think that if we did not make money, there would be no work for anyone and that the money we pay in taxes keeps all these non-productive people in the public sector in their well-paid, cushy jobs and high pensions.Why, even today I read that we in the private sector are virtually paying for two pensions – our own and to subsidise the enormous inflation-proof pensions of the public sector. This is surely the economics of a madhouse.I’m sure you’ll be amazed to hear that I have, on occasions, been called tactless. That is not so. Once, when a friend and his wife were staying with us, I rushed into the bathroom when his wife was in the bath. I quickly said: “Good morning sir, have you seen my glasses?” The “good morning” was courtesy and the “sir” was tact. nlast_img read more

The cost of change

first_imgSustainable palm oil was barely out of the headlines last month, as food firms lined up to announce they would be switching to ’green’ palm oil in their bakery products.First was Sainsbury’s, which revealed that its own-label digestives and rich tea biscuits would be made with sustainable palm oil, certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as part of its commitment to move to 100% sustainable supply by 2014. Then came M&S, announcing that it would purchase GreenPalm certificates to cover almost 1,000 products. Some of the first will be cookies and oatcakes, as the retailer moves to 100% sustainable supply by 2015. Ginsters has also signed up to the scheme.Not to be outdone, United Biscuits let it be known that it had signed an agreement with New Britain Palm Oil to buy segregated, traceable and certified palm oil and would source all its palm oil on this basis by 2011.The announcements were undoubtedly timed to coincide with the publication last month of a new WWF palm oil buyers’ scorecard, which rated the performance of producers and retailers across Europe on switching to sustainable palm oil. Several bakery companies were listed, with Northern Foods, War-burtons and Associated British Foods fairly low down the list. Sainsbury’s, M&S and Asda featured in the top 10.”Palm oil production is one of the main causes of deforestation around the world and is a direct threat to species like the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, rhino and elephant. Forest loss is also a major contributor to climate change,” explained Richard Perkins, WWF-UK’s commodities officer. “Sourcing palm oil from RSPO-certified sources is the most credible way to ensure companies are not adding to these problems. Even if you are a small user of palm oil then customers may well start asking what you are doing to reduce the environmental impacts of ingredients.”Fully traceable, segregated and sustainable refined palm oil is available from suppliers such as New Britain and can be used in biscuits, but most bakery manufacturers actually use palm derivatives such as olein, stearin and fractions, which are not currently available in sustainable, certified forms. This leaves manufacturers with the option of buying GreenPalm certificates.Under the scheme, run by fats supplier AAK, companies purchase a certificate for every tonne of palm oil they use. This premium is then paid to farmers producing an equivalent amount of sustainable palm oil. Certi-ficates cost around $8, while a tonne of palm oil is around $650.It sounds simple, but there is confusion in the baking industry. “Sustainable palm oil is a worthy cause, but there are issues that need resolving,” said ABIM president Andy Pollard. “It’s not clear who should buy the certificates: the ingredients supplier, the baker or the retailer. It doesn’t make sense for everyone to buy them and it could become confusing.”Judith Murdoch, marketing manager at AAK, said manufacturers and retailers will benefit most from making sustainable claims. “Retailers such as Tesco and Asda are talking to their own-brand suppliers, asking them to move towards sustain-able palm oil by buying Green-Palm certificates in the short term and developing physically segregated, sustainable palm oil in the long term,” she said.The other big issue is the outlay involved in switching to sustainable palm oil. As Pollard said: “Who will foot the cost? Ingredients companies’ margins have been restricted over the years and we would have to pass any extra costs on to our customers, who have also seen margins squeezed. Ultimately we would hope that the extra cost can be passed on to the consumer rather than it having to be absorbed within the already tight margins of those in the supply chain.”These concerns were echoed by several bakery manufacturers we spoke to. “Sustainable palm oil is on our radar, but there are challenges in terms of getting hold of the right quality for our products and the extra costs involved,” said one biscuit manufacturer.Another supplier added: “The big boys are pushing for sustainable palm oil but there is a cost implication and, in most cases, the producer ends up paying for it.”Despite these fears, there are signs that the big retailers are willing to help shoulder the burden. M&S said it would pay for the GreenPalm certificates itself, while Judith Murdoch is confident other retailers will also pitch in. “From my discussions, it seems that retailers are willing to take some of the extra cost into their business,” she said.last_img read more

EAT a suitable fit for Waitrose says analyst

first_imgRumours that Waitrose is in talks to acquire 102-shop sandwich chain EAT fits well with the retai-ler’s strategy of moving from being a conventional supermarket to becoming a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand.That’s the view of Planet Retail analyst Natalie Berg, who says the acquisition of EAT would enable Waitrose to continue its move into different retail channels. “Waitrose is pushing hard into convenience and fresh food markets, with recent deals to sell its products in Shell petrol forecourts, Welcome Break motorway service stations and Boots. It also has big plans to roll out its own convenience stores,” she told British Baker. “The possible deal to buy EAT fits with this strategy, enabling Waitrose to sell its premium food products, such as sandwiches, snacks and drinks, on the high street. We could also see EAT cafés opening in its supermarkets.”The Sunday Times reported last month that Waitrose was in exclusive negotiations to buy EAT from founders Niall and Faith MacArthur. EAT sits at number 12 on British Baker’s BB75 list of top bakery retailers. For the year to 27 June 2009, it reported an 11% rise in turnover to £75.5m, thanks to store openings.last_img read more

CSM revises icing

first_imgCSM UK has launched a new and improved recipe for its Wrapice icing, which has now been rebranded under the firm’s leading confectionery brand, Craigmillar. It said the new recipe offers a natural vanilla taste, a smoother application, better coverage and a longer shelf-life.According to CSM, Wrapice doesn’t stick to packaging, and with its improved recipe is even easier to apply to buns or cakes with its improved consistency. It is also freeze-thaw stable, adding to its flexibility of use.”We have made these improvements to Wrapice to give bakers a better all-round product with no additional cost and we have retained all the well-known features of Wrapice that have made it the market-leading product it still sticks to the bun and not the packet,” said product manager Mattia Menni.last_img read more

Football club beats bakers to top gong at British Pie Awards

first_imgMorecambe Football Club has swept the board at the British Pie Awards. The Npower League Two team won the Supreme Champion award for its chicken, leek and ham pie at the event, which took place in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire – the home of the pork pie.The club, which makes its own pies, beat off competition from bakers and butchers across the UK. It also scooped accolades for the best football pie and the best pie made by a small producer.Meanwhile, Crantock Bakery has been crowned maker of the UK’s best Cornish pasty, becoming the first to win the award following the granting of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to the Cornish Pasty earlier this year. PGI gave the Cornish Pasty the same protection afforded to the Champagne region of France for its wines, meaning that they can only be produced in Cornwall according to a set definition.Nick Ringer, managing director of Crantock Bakery, a past winner of Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards, organised by British Baker, said: “We are all delighted to have won this award. It means we really were up against the best authentic pasties made in Cornwall. The fact that ours won shows we genuinely do make the best Cornish pasties in the UK.”The British Pie Awards was judged by food industry figures including food writers, Xanthe Clay and Charles Campion, celebrity chef and food campaigner, Rachel Green, author Tamasin Day-Lewis and Georgi Gyton, senior reporter on British Baker. The event – which was held at the historic St Mary’s Church in the market town – saw more than 600 products entered and was also featured on the ITV morning show Daybreak. The competition, now in its third year, saw an increase in entrants from small producers.Winners 2011Supreme Champion:Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie produced by Graham Aimson, Morecambe Football Club in Morecambe, LancashireClass 1: Melton Mowbray Pork PieChampion: Melton Mowbray Pork Pie produced by Mrs Kings Pies in Nottingham, NottinghamshireClass 2: Pork PieChampion: Sainsbury’s All Pork Gala produced by Walkers Charnwood Bakery in Leicester, LeicestershireClass 3: Steak and Kidney PieChampion: Steak & Kidney Pie produced by Turners Catering Pies in Bognor Regis, West SussexClass 4: Savoury Pie – HotChampion: Chicken, Leek and Laver Bread Pie produced by Leonardo’s Delicatessen Ltd in Ruthin, DenbighshireClass 5: Savoury Pie – ColdChampion: Chicken & Ham Pie produced by Chunk of Devon in Ottery St Mary, DevonClass 6: Fish PieChampion: Smoked Eel, Leeks and Horseradish Pie produced by The Great North Pie Company in Stockport, CheshireClass 7: Vegetarian PieChampion: Cheese, Leek and Apple Pie produced by The Great North Pie Company in Stockport, CheshireClass 8: Cornish Pasty Champion: Cornish Pasty produced by Crantock Bakery in Newquay, CornwallClass 9: Other PastyChampion: Smokey Bacon & Leek Pasty produced by Proper Cornish Ltd in Bodmin, CornwallClass 10: British Apple PieChampion: British Apple Pie produced by Bouverie Lodge Quality Foods in Nether Broughton, LeicestershireClass 11: Other Dessert PieChampion: Tesco Cherry Pie produced by Kensey Foods in Launceston, CornwallClass 12: Football PieChampion: Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie produced by Graham Aimson Morecambe Football Club in Morecambe, LancashireSpecial Award to recognise the best small producer:Champion: Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie produced by Graham Aimson Morecambe Football Club in Morecambe, Lancashirelast_img read more

Greggs grabs Moment in spotlight with new-concept coffee shop

first_imgGreggs is set to shake up the UK coffee market after launching a new value coffee shop concept called Greggs Moment, which undercuts players such as Costa and Starbucks on price.The UK’s largest retail baker opened the Greggs Moment store in Newcastle last week, offering Fairtrade coffee, tea served in teapots and a new range of bakery products with customers able to choose their own fillings, sauces and dres-sings. Prices in the trial store are significantly lower than in other high street coffee chains.Jeffrey Young, MD of research company Allegra Strategies, said the new concept had the potential to do very well. “The coffee market has become increasingly tiered, with artisan coffee shops, premium mass-market players like Costa and Starbucks and now this,” he said. “Greggs would be mad not to look at coffee shops. It has a big audience and lots of experience with property, so it potentially could be a big success. There are still lots of poor-quality independent coffee shops out there that could be replaced.”New food products available in-store include gourmet square pies such as ’steak and cheesy mash’, a range of sandwiches prepared on-site and soup, plus an extensive breakfast range from breakfast sandwiches and mini pastries to porridge and a new product called the Brekkles Cake an Eccles cake topped with yoghurt and fruit.Prices have been set at between 10-30% less than the main coffee shop chains. A 12-ounce cappuccino or latte retails for £1.85, a bacon roll is £1.85, a pot of tea is £1.50 and a muffin is £1.15.CEO Ken McMeikan said: “Greggs Moment is unique in offering customers the ability to choose their great-tasting, fresh food and drink ’just how you like it’, all at incredible value prices that are much more affordable for today’s cash-strapped customer.”According to British Baker’s BB75 tracker, updated in August, Costa had a total of 1,257 stores in the UK, while Starbucks had 730. Mintel consumer research, published earlier this year, found that 57% of people visit coffee shops, with 27% of people having visited Costa in the past three months. Cappuccinos, lattes and mochas are chosen by half of people, while around a quarter order a sandwich or panini. The market was worth around £1.2bn in 2010, according to Mintel.last_img read more


first_imgShoppers are turning to brands despite the weakened consumer confidence, according to research. The IGD ShopperTrack found that more than a third, or 35% of shoppers, said it was very important to them that the food and groceries they bought had been “made by a company that specialises in that product” the highest level for a year.Similarly, 33% said it was very important that food and grocery products they bought were “made by a well-known company” again the highest level for a year and 32% said it was also very important that they had “grown up buying or using this product”.Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “This strong level of support for brands is the highest it has been since we started tracking shopper sentiment on a monthly basis almost a year ago. During these uncertain times, a third of shoppers are returning to the food and grocery products they know best and are seeking comfort in brands they have grown up with. They are looking for brands they trust to deliver quality, value and reliability.”Even though people are facing a squeeze on incomes, when it comes to their food and groceries they are not just focusing on price. Quality is still important to shoppers, but this might come at the expense of spending on other items.”last_img read more

ITV competition dessert created by Isleport Foods

first_imgBakkavör’s Isleport Foods has produced the winning cake for ITV This Morning’s design a dessert competition.The Somerset-based dessert manufacturer was selected by Tesco to produce a Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake made by amateur cake maker Zoe Williams. The cake was launched on 24 October for a six-week period, with profits being donated to Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland.Dominic Mullan, general manager at Isleport Foods, said: “We’re all excited to be involved in producing a delicious new product for Tesco using Zoe’s recipe which combines the very best elements of two very popular desserts. The team at Isleport excels in developing and delivering a fantastic range of premium desserts to the UK’s supermarkets, and this latest product fits our particular area of expertise very well indeed.”The winning product was selected by judges including Tesco convenience food technical manager Dave Oliver, This Morning chef Gizzi Erskine, actress Wendi Peters and This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.last_img read more

Attorney General Curtis Hill ordered to pay $19,000+ for groping case

first_img Twitter By Network Indiana – November 23, 2020 0 228 WhatsApp (Photo supplied) Attorney General Curtis Hill has been ordered to pay more than $19,000 in expenses for the “groping case.”The order, issued Friday by the Indiana Supreme Court, directs Hill to pay a total of $19,068.54.To break it down, Hill must pay: $16,247.55 for former Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby’s work as the case’s hearing officer; $2,737.66 to for investigative expenses; and $83.33 for court costs.That $19,000 figure is one-third of the original $57,000 Indiana’s attorney disciplinary commission proposed Hill pay back in September. WhatsApp Google+ Pinterest Facebook Attorney General Curtis Hill ordered to pay $19,000+ for groping case Facebook Twitter Google+ IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Previous articleElkhart County COVID-19 Call Center reopened to answer questionsNext articleAstraZeneca joins Pfizer, Moderna in developing coronavirus vaccine Network Indianalast_img read more

Walorski, majority of Indiana’s delegation support $2,000 payments in CASH Act

first_img By Network Indiana – December 29, 2020 0 258 Pinterest WhatsApp Google+ Twitter Walorski, majority of Indiana’s delegation support $2,000 payments in CASH Act WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Previous articleKroger to help distribute COVID-19 vaccinationsNext articleHomeless man dead of hypothermia in South Bend on Christmas Eve Network Indiana Pinterest Google+ (Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth) You will likely get a $600 payment, if you got one last time. But, you may also be getting an additional $1,500, if the Senate votes yes on that bill. It passed the House on Monday evening.“I’m very pleased the House passed the CASH Act,” said Rep. Andre Carson, who represents Indianapolis in DC, in the 7th District. Carson is a Democrat, and he along with Rep. Pete Visclosky, Indiana’s only other Democrat representative, voted in favor of the bill.“It would have been helpful if President Trump would have indicated his support sooner,” said Carson. “Instead of focusing on baseless election lawsuits, but I’m happy that we acted quickly.”But, several Republicans also voted for the bill, including Susan Brooks, Greg Pence, Jim Baird and Jackie Walorski.“I’m honored to stand with President Trump and fight for Hoosier workers and families. I just voted for $2,000 in direct relief payments to return money to taxpayers, help Americans get through this crisis, and rebuild our nation’s economy stronger than ever,” Tweeted Walorski, who represents parts of northern Indiana.Representatives Jim Banks and Larry Bucshon voted no, while Trey Hollingsworth did not vote.The bill was largely a Democrat measure, and it will have to pass the Senate before it can be signed into law. IndianaLocalNews Facebooklast_img read more